Answers in Genesis: Weather Before the Flood

The creation scientists at at Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis (AIG) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — have posted an article of great scientific importance. It deals with a question that has troubled all of us: Did It Rain Before the Flood?

Admit it, dear reader — many are the nights you’ve lain awake, unable to sleep, wondering that very thing. Now, at last, some serious attention is being paid to this — the most important question of our time. AIG’s article is by Larry Vardiman, a “retired professor of atmospheric science and chair of the department of astro-geophysics for the Institute for Creation Research.” So you know this is high-grade material. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and scripture references omitted:

Scripture says tantalizingly little about climate conditions before the Flood. Based on a few indirect verses, early creationists speculated that a vapor canopy covered the earth until the first rain fell during the Flood.

That’s how it always seemed to us. But AIG probes the matter deeply:

The first step is always to examine Scripture carefully to differentiate the actual words from interpretations. After God finished making all the plants and animals during Creation Week, the Bible says, “The Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground [scripture reference].

Verily, that’s what it says! Let’s read on:

Later, God told Noah during the 600th year of his life that He would “cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights” [scripture reference] and would bring “floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life” [scripture reference]. Noah may have faced new weather conditions during and following the Flood that he had never experienced before, but just what was the nature of these changes?

What’s the answer? We continue:

It seems clear that he saw a rainbow for the first time. And he was assaulted by severe weather of a magnitude never seen on earth before or since.

Right! There can be no doubt. Here’s more:

However, the conclusion that there was no rain before the Flood over the entire earth is based on two primary assumptions that are not necessarily true: (1) the mist that “watered the whole face of the ground” occurred over the entire globe and (2) since Scripture makes no mention of rain in its description of events between Creation and the Flood, then rain must not have fallen during that period.

Here’s where we start to have problems. For one thing, the bible is very clear that the Earth wasn’t a “globe” in those days (see The Earth Is Flat). For another thing, the bible makes no mention of rain until the Flood. Moving along:

The context of the “mist” means it may have occurred near the Garden of Eden where God was about to create Adam, and it may be stretching the verse to say the mist extended over the whole earth. And to say that there was no rain before the Flood is an argument from silence, which is always a weak argument.

A weak argument? We think not. After all, the bible doesn’t mention evolution, so it obviously didn’t happen. Another excerpt:

If the “mist” condition of [scripture reference] covered the entire earth from Creation to the Flood — and that is a big “if” — then the earth’s climate and weather would have been considerably different from today. Noah would not have known about rain, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, or strong winds. In fact, under rain-free conditions before the Flood, the atmosphere would have been very stable, winds would have been light, and global temperatures would likely have been more uniform. And with no rain to refract sunlight, rainbows would not have formed.

That’s exactly the way it was! On with the article:

A watery canopy surrounding the earth would support these conditions by providing a more massive atmosphere and higher surface pressure. In addition, creationists have noted that these special conditions may help explain such biblical mysteries as the longevity of pre-Flood people (up to 969 years) and Noah’s susceptibility to drunkenness after the Flood, although many other biological factors were likely in play.

See there? Creation science explains everything! But there’s more:

Several canopy models of pre-Flood atmospheric conditions have been constructed, such as ones by Dillow, Morris, Vail, and myself. … If such a canopy existed prior to the Flood, it certainly doesn’t exist today.

Right again! There’s no canopy today. The article continues:

However, major computational problems continue to plague the canopy models. No known physical force has been shown to be capable of suspending such large amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere without major complications, such as a massive greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse effect? Humbug! Scripture doesn’t mention it, so it didn’t happen. And now we come to the end:

Was there rain before the Genesis Flood? I don’t believe there was, at least near the Garden of Eden. But only time will tell if modeling efforts are successful in supporting a canopy prior to the Flood. If the modeling is not successful, then rain probably fell before the Flood, at least far from the Garden of Eden. Whatever explanation is true, the Bible’s accuracy is not in question.

He’s a fool to worry about models. If we stick with scripture, then we know all there is to know. Isn’t creation science grand?

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “Answers in Genesis: Weather Before the Flood

  1. Charley Horse

    You can’t model miracles. Somebody needs to tell these
    guys that.

    Of course it didn’t rain before the flood. Everyone knows
    the umbrella industry did not exist pre-flood. Shish….

  2. I am genuinely starting to think that AIG are well on the way to displacing the Time Cube as the single most barking mad site on the internet.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Wow, waffling tripe. Next …

  4. @Meg: Barking mad, indeed! Ham is totally ignorant of the laws of physics to propose no rain pre-flood. It also contradicts his own bible — if there is a “vapor canopy”, i.e., total cloud cover, there would have been no knowledge of the sun, moon, stars and “other signs” in the sky.

    Why he would even raise the question is beyond comprehension — unless he is “barking mad”.

  5. Charley Horse

    retiredsciguy….you are forgetting about the windows….

  6. Poor Adam and Eve! No white Christmas!

  7. Got it. Aeolian dune sands of Triassic age were deposited pre mist and deltaic and beach sediments of the Jurassic and Cretaceous and Tertiary were during the flood. This just leaves those pesky Paleozoic beds all over the earth that date out at up to 550 MYBP. I’m sure Morris ‘s team can explain that also. I see a Nobel prizefighter ahead 🙂

  8. So glad that’s all cleared up now. I had been wondering and wondering did it, or did it not, rain before the great flood?

    I’m so glad that we have such brilliant scientists at AIG to come of with the answers to those tough questions.

    But seriously, does anyone know Larry Vardiman’s measurements, or are straight jackets one-size-fits-all?

  9. If there was no rain, then there were no rivers, for rivers flow from high to low ground, and are replenished in high ground by some water source, e.g., rain, snow, etc. I am reminded of the Escher painting of the eternal water flow going round and round on his impossible 3-D building.

  10. Ugh. Ones grieves for the benighted children of these ignorant fools.

  11. So “watered the whole face of the ground” might not mean everywhere, but “all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered” non-negotiably means all of the mountains? I sense a double-standard…

  12. The “massive greenhouse effect” of the canopy could be counteracted by the Earth being further from the Sun: the Bible doesn’t say that the Earth moved closer to the Sun after or during the flood (well, it wouldn’t say that, it would say the Sun moved closer to Earth, but it doesn’t say that either), but that’s “an argument from silence, which is always a weak argument”.
    The more distant orbit would mean longer years, so the 900-year lifespans would be even longer in modern years, but I at least can believe 1800 or even 9000-year lifetimes as easily as 900.

  13. The whole truth

    It is astounding how far some people will go to try to justify their crazy beliefs. Vardiman is certifiably nuts, just like the rest of the loons at AIG. The sludge they spew is toxic and they should never, ever, ever be allowed around children.

  14. Ceteris Paribus

    Dr. Vardiman proclaims: “And with no rain to refract sunlight, rainbows would not have formed.” Seems that science and theology don’t play well together at AIG.

    But just in time for the season, an Anglican church in New Zealand puts up a billboard with a genuine theological explanation for the lack of rainbows:

  15. Charley Horse

    Ceteris Paribus…….
    Wow! Jesus was gay? Such chutzpah!
    My favorite of their billboards was the one with
    the text “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow.”

  16. It’s amazing to me how AiG attempts to cast the scientific explanation of the earth’s history as historical speculation, all the while publishing wild (in this case, bat-sh*t crazy) speculations of their own. Every time they do this, they make the scientific explanation seem that much more plausible and common-sense.

    As David points out – no rain, no rivers. Where did the pre-flood people get their water? Did God provide helpful natural springs every few miles or so? Did the mist just show up to water crops and all other flora every morning? Where did it come from…did God create it every time? It had to be much denser than a typical morning fog. Were there no clouds in those days?

    If there was never any rain, how did the Hebrews have a word for it? When God told Noah he would make it rain for 40 days, the bible does not record Noah asking the natural follow-up question, “What is rain?”

  17. Extracts from AiGs Statement of Faith:

    “In order to preserve the function and integrity of the ministry in its mission to proclaim the absolute truth and authority of Scripture and to provide a biblical role model to our employees, and to the Church, the community, and society at large, it is imperative that all persons employed by the ministry in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to our Statement of Faith…”,

    Section 2: Basics

    The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

    The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.

    The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe”.

    The article is highly speculative, and contains words such as ‘may have’, ‘would likely’ and ‘consider all the possibilities’. It seems to me that Dr Vardiman is breaching this Statement of Faith by interpreting scripture and his speculations are at odds with the bible’s ‘simple but factual presentation of factual events’. Dr Vardiman should be cast out from AiGs garden.

  18. “Did It Rain Before the Flood?”

    Was Chicken Little a Mayan archaeologist before she went ranting about?

  19. Channeling Bill Cosby …

    God: “Noah, I’m going to make it rain for forty days and forty nights.”

    Noah: “Right … {long pause} … What’s rain?”

  20. Is this too far OT?

    God: Adam, go over that hill …
    Adam: What’s a hill?
    So God explains.
    God: And cross the river …
    Adam: What’s a river?
    So God explains.
    God: And climb the mountain …
    God: Until you come to the cave …
    God: And in the cave you will find a woman …
    God: And I want you to be fruitful and multiply.
    Adam: How do I do that?
    So God explains, and Adam goes over the hill, crosses the river, climbs the mountain and enters the cave. But very soon he comes out, down the mountain, across the river and over the hill.
    Adam: God, what’s a headache?

  21. Tomato Addict says:


    And I say … Blech!

  22. Regarding the billboard portraying a gay baby Jesus: maybe that explains why the temple priests wanted him crucified. Hey — I wonder what the christian symbol would be today if, instead of crucifying Jesus, the Romans gave him a copy of “The World’s Funniest Joke” to read? For that matter, since the name “Christian” derives from “cross” or “crucify”, would today’s followers of Jesus be called Jokians?

    A beneficial consequence — you would need a sense of humor (that’s “humour” for you, Meg) to get into heaven.

    I hope Ken Ham sees that “Rainbow Jesus” billboard, but I bet he wouldn’t exactly die laughing.

  23. RSG writes> “I wonder what the christian symbol would be today if, instead of crucifying Jesus, the Romans gave him a copy of “The World’s Funniest Joke” to read?”

    Isn’t it obvious? (I think that was a setup)

  24. retiredsciguy, I’m going to go all pedantic on you here. Sorry.

    “Christian” derives from “christos,” the Latin transliteration of the Greek word meaning “anointed.” “Cross” and “crucify,” however, derive by different routes from Latin “crux,” meaning “cross.”

    The tipoff is the difference between “ch-,” for Greek chi, and plain “c,” which in classical times were not pronounced the same, the way they are in today’s English. To be honest, though, the words you cite certainly look closely related otherwise, so your conclusion is quite natural. Reputedly, Voltaire observed about the apparent capriciousness of etymology that it is “a science in which the consonants count for very little and the vowels for nothing at all.”

    Your delightful speculation about “Jokians” remains unaffected.

  25. Breaking News: Ken Ham crashes his car into a billboard. Film at eleven.

  26. That’s not funny, Tomato Addict. Now, Darwinist Falls into Manhole — that’s funny!

  27. If there was no water back then, what did they drink? Wine? I guess that explains a lot.

  28. Retired Prof: “retiredsciguy, I’m going to go all pedantic on you here. Sorry.”

    Absolutely no need to apologize; we retired educators can’t help it. I think it’s a disease triggered by chalk dust. The new generations are protected — they use whiteboards and electronics.

    Anyway, thanks for the enlightenment.